I’ve finally activated 2FA for my Microsoft account

I’ve finally activated two-factor-authentication for my Microsoft account.

Better late than never, but I’ve held back for a while since last I checked there was no good app for iPhone for authentication. Now there is.

And secondarily, I used to use my Facebook and Apple accounts more actively and had 2FA enabled for those. This has changed and the Microsoft account is getting more and more central to most logins I do, so it felt about time to get it done.

And it was remarkably easy, even though the walkthrough from Microsoft is actually wrong or outdated in some places:

Activation worked fine, I installed the Microsoft authenticator app, made sure it worked and then just enable 2FA on the account.

It also told me to generate app-passwords if I used the Outlook app on other devices. Funnily the only place I’ve so far needed to use the app-password is when I launch Office 365 on my Windows 10 computer. All other places, like Email on iPhone, Skype on iPhone, and several other apps works with the “real” user account/password and actual 2FA confirmation. So it’s only the native Microsoft Office 365 Outlook app that fails this so far.

All in all, this was very easy and great to have. Now onto the next big problem, which was a trigger for this in some ways, to see what can be done about the sudden appearance of large amounts of spam on one of my non-Microsoft accounts. Whether the ISP can solve this or I need to start forwarding all mails to my Outlook.com account ?

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I’m thinking of abandoning Office365

I’ve started thinking of abandoning Office365, and what I would need to do in order to replace what little remaining functionality there is.

  • Outlook design is too flat, and even the Outlook.com web interface is richer, with more contrast, colors and just as easy to work in. (In fact easier since it’s way much faster in responding)
  • Using contacts in Outlook 2016 is horrible, the old dialog box for adding details is gone, replaced with some flat strangeness, and even more important, to add pictures to my Outlook-contacts I still need to edit contact details through a web browser.
  • Beyond Outlook I’m mainly using OneNote. The rare few times I use Word and Excel are easily counted. And OneNote is free.

That leaves OneDrive as the key factor for safekeeping all my photos and documents. And while I could place them on my NAS the whole point of OneDrive was to have them roaming, available anywhere and safe offsite in case anything would happen to my home computers.

I’m thinking whether any other service could replace this, on the other hand that would mean I’d need to pick and choose software all over again, when all I wanted was one working bundle. But when the bundle goes in the direction of working less and less as needed it gets slightly frustrating.

I’m not sure it will happen yet, but it needs thinking about.

And there is still at least one glitch in a complete move to web-only, in that Outlook.com doesn’t support having contacts in iCloud. Which would mean I’d need to migrate entirely to iCloud email as well, which is really too much work in the way of updating my contact information across all places where I’ve used it.

First Major Update for Windows 10

While waiting for the Windows 10 November update to resolve my Xbox problems, I’ve tried to see what’s really in it for me, besides a lengthy time-wasting upgrade period and up to then a lot of non-working apps, like the Xbox app.

Microsoft says,

  • that the new update improves performance over Windows 7, which for me is irrelevant since I noted that already in the original upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. So, nothing new there.
  • that there are new features in Cortana, which to my knowledge still isn’t available in Sweden. So, nothing new there, either.
  • that there are new features in Edge, however Edge is still not on par with Firefox in areas such as syncing my favorites, offering addons and plugins. So any news in Edge is a waste of time for me.
  • there’s also said to be a lot of upgrades to
    • mail (don’t use it since I use Office365)
    • calendar (don’t use it either)
    • Groove (what’s that…?)
    • Xbox (hm, ok, it starts to work again, that’s nice)
    • Store (haven’t seen much news yet, still a lot of unuseful apps)
    • OneNote (nice, but I use the OneNote 2016 in Office365)
    • Solitaire (oh well, one for the kids, maybe)
    • Photos (not sure what’s new but that’s nice, sometimes I even open it and look, mostly though what I see of it is the icon on the start menu, but I guess it’s good anyway)
  • And then there’s supposed to be a lot of updates for office users, which I am not, (on these computers).

So, essentially it’s a major upgrade to resolve a login problem caused by another update, to offer me a new photo icon on the start menu, and maybe give the kids some news in playing solitaire.

I still like Windows 10, but I hope the next major update brings me something more useful.

Office 2016 was released today

Office 2016 was released today and I didn’t have the patience to wait for any automatic upgrades to kick in, so I logged in to my account page and launched the installation from there (with the added benefit that the page finally updated itself to show correct OS-version, previously it kept insisting I was still running Windows 8.1 even though I upgraded to Windows 10 as soon as it was released).

So far there’s not much to say, installation worked smoothly, launching Outlook and OneNote with retained settings and, well… if not the color schemes I had hoped for, then at least more color and more contrast.

Beyond that I’ve yet to experiment with the new online apps which are not downloaded, namely “Sway” and “Docs.com” which are linked from the Office365 homepage.

Sway at first glance looked like an enhanced Powerpoint-meets-Wordpress storyline kind of thing. Quite nice and possibly something I’ll test out more later on.

Docs.com I’ve still to understand what it really is, it requires a separate registration, so is it part of Microsofts Live.com or not? And it offers unlimited free space, how does that compete with OneDrive, and if it’s true what use do I have for a paid Office365 subscription? But I don’t think it’s actually free, few things are and they often come with commercials and ads instead, and then I prefer the small cost of my subscription.

But I still want more color schemes. (Preferrably the dark red one from outlook.com!)

Leaving the LinkedIn connector

LinkedIn sent out a email to “active users of LinkedIn for Microsoft Outlook Social Connector”, stating that the plugin would be retired shortly and replaced with some app from the MS Store.

As an Office365 user I thought there would be no issues in this, just download and upgrade or install. Didn’t turn out that way.

The link in the email brings me to the Store, which brings me to the login page for Office, which lets me know my Office365 account can’t be used with OWA. Which of course is correct, I simply want the plugin for my installed Outlook client for Office365 and other email accounts.

The intention may well be to get users over on corporate or intranet accounts for all I know, still this was promoted as a replacement for the old plugin to Office 2010, and since it seems it doesn’t work I’ll be leaving this plugin, too bad since it was a quite nice feature for keeping contacts updated.

Tech-Ed 2013, Madrid

Tech-Ed 2013, Madrid

I attended this years Tech-Ed. This first post is only a handful of the pictures taken on the town and at the sessions, after vacation I will try to summarize the best of what was said and done. For now the main impression and message is that the future is in the cloud, with Office 365 and Azure, and with new mobile devices, running on Windows 8.

(Speaking of which I got a much more favorable impression of the new Surface Pro tablets, and Windows 8 laptops, than the feeling I got from my Surface RT, still “first impressions last” so I remain slightly skeptic for a while still before fully embracing all the news)

Another major news was of course the announcement of the Microsoft-Oracle partnership, allowing and supporting Oracle servers and solutions onto the MS Azure cloud. This will be really interesting to use.

Tech-Ed, Madrid, juni 2013I also particularly liked the second keynote (titled “Windows is the future”), really impressive display of features and functionality as well as some nice new devices.

Windows is the future, Tech-Ed, Madrid, juni 2013On the way home from the sessions I took a small detour to watch the “Porta de Europa” monument. The diners didn’t open until 9 in the evening anyway so there were a few hours between conference end and the possibility to get something to eat.

Porta de Europa, Madrid, juni 2013Also seen every day from the bus between the hotel and the conference hall was Palacio de Comunicaciones at Plaza de Cibeles, I believe this was some town ministry house. Really nice design.

Palacio de Comunicaciones, Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid, juni 2013Thursday after work I was so tired I just went out and walked a bit in the peace and quiet in Parque del Retiro, the old royal park now open for the public, with its nice lakes and statues.

Parque del Retiro, Madrid, juni 2013And, though some colleagues complained about all the photos of restaurants and other non-work related places, I actually did have to eat every day and sleep in the evenings, and I chose not to go to Burger King every day, so naturally I did catch a few nice photos of the surrounding locations.

Casa de Campo, Madrid, juni 2013

A house with a wall of plants, from nearby the Museo Nacional de Prado

Madrid, Juni 2013

A church, also nearby the Museo Nacional de Prado

Madrid, juni 2013

And restaurant La Pesquera, where the country gatherings were held (for Denmark, this year being the first I wasn’t there as Norwegian… :))

Restaurant La Pesquera, Madrid, juni 2013

And last, quite surprisingly, I was able to take all of my notes using my Surface RT, using OneNote and Twitter. So it can actually be used quite ok on travel and to take small notes. As it was now it only lacked corporate email.

Tech-Ed Europe 2013

I am booked for Tech-Ed Europe 2013.

It’s being held in Madrid this year which will be interesting as I’ve never been there before, all my earlier Tech-Ed visits have been to Barcelona, though the latter is a really nice place and I will miss not going there.

It’s also nice considering I had going there in my development plans for the last two years but it was postponed due to too much project activities and lack of time.

Architecturally it’s also very well timed as we’ve just finished our biggest project in many years and I’m free to look for both technologies to fill gaps, ease user pains and increase user friendliness and also look at both Office365 and cloud technologies such as Azure which are “hot topics” right now in the organisation.